Beating the odds to excel in their studies

Radzi (left), Lee (second from left) and Philip (right) with the students at the awards ceremony.

Quality education shapes one’s future and for the disadvantaged, it is a life changer and an important tool to break free from the cycle of poverty.

It is with this in mind that the Eco World Foundation actively champions education through its Eco World Foundation Students Aid Programme (SAP).

The programme has 3,000 underprivileged primary, secondary and tertiary students under its wings.

Au Hau Nung, a 23-year-old university student being helped by the aid programme, is grateful to have the Eco World Foundation in his life.

“With the opportunities and encouragement given to me by the foundation, I’m able to learn in a comfortable environment without worrying about being a financial burden to my parents,” said Au, who has been with the programme since Standard 4.

Au shared that apart from promoting academic excellence, the Eco World Foundation through its workshops and seminars also encourages students to adopt a wholesome and healthy life.

“In secondary school, I played basketball and joined the Red Crescent Society.

“I’ve learnt that co-curricular activities help us build leadership skills and prepares us for worklife,” said the Bachelor of Engineering final-year student in a testimonial at the foundation’s annual UPSR Excellence Awards ceremony held at the Eco Majestic sales gallery in Semenyih.

The awards celebrate the achievements of UPSR top scorers under the SAP.

This year, it will recognise 169 students with ceremonies held in five states – Johor, Selangor, Sabah, Kedah and Penang.

The awards in the latter two states will be presented on Jan 30.

Eco World Foundation chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said in his speech that the board of trustees decided to organise a more intimate awards ceremony this year so that the foundation could interact better with its adopted students and their parents.

Congratulating the 44 students in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Pahang on their excellent performance in last year’s UPSR examinations, Lee said the foundation was delighted to be hosting the awards ceremony in an EcoWorld Gallery.

Ten students received awards in the Excellence category, 16 in the Outstanding category and 18 in the Most Improved category.

Seven teachers were also recognised with the Teachers Award for their vital role in guiding pupils in the UPSR examination, while Sekolah Kebangsaan Puchong Jaya in Selangor was recognised as the Best School for its efforts in supporting the foundation and its SAP.

The evening saw each student receiving a Malay-English dictionary and a motivational book titled A+B=C Attitude + Behaviour = Character, along with cash prizes of RM200, RM150 and RM100 respectively, according to the categories.

Sharing a little more about the SAP, which is the main focus of the foundation, Lee said this programme was conceptualised to assist students from low-income families regardless of race or creed.

Primary school pupils receive RM1,100 to RM1,200 a year while secondary school students receive RM1,000 to RM1,600 annually.

Meanwhile, pre-university students receive RM5,000 while foundation-level students receive RM6,500 yearly.

Degree students receive RM8,000 to RM14,500 yearly for their studies.

Lee was proud to share that seven students under the SAP had graduated with degrees from institutions of higher learning while 21 others are in university.

“It is my ardent wish that the foundation reaches out to more students in the coming years.

“While we place importance on examination results, we also hope that our students will grow to be responsible adults and contribute to society and the country,” he said.

Under the SAP, attention is also given to the personal development of every student, with frequent home visits conducted by the foundation to check on home life and to give parents moral support.

Dialogue sessions are held with parents twice a year.

This gives parents a platform to voice out problems or challenges they face and to gather feedback on areas of improvement for the programme.

Lee said the full support of parents was important to ensure the success of the SAP and encouraged them to make time for their children.

“We need to set a good example for our students to follow,” he added.

The awards ceremony was also attended by Eco World Development Group Berhad chairman Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin and Eco World Foundation trustees Tan Sri Radzi Sheikh Ahmad and Philip Mathews.

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